Bible (Early Wycliffe)/Wiſdam
Þe Prolog in þe booc of Wiſdam
Heer begynneþ þe prolog in þe booc of Wiſdam.
The booc of Wiſdam anent Ebrues noȝher is; wherfore and þat diting þe more ſmelleþ fair Grec ſpeche. Þys booc þe Jewis afermen to ben of Filon, þat þerfore Wiſdam is nemned, for in it þe comyng of Criſt, þat is þe wiſdam of þe Fader, and þe paſſion, diligentli is opened.
Heer begynneþ þe book of Wiſdam.
Looue ȝee riȝtwiſneſſe, þat demen þe erþe; feeleþ of þe Lord in goodneſſe, and in ſimpleneſſe of herte ſecheþ hym. For he is founden of hem, þat tempten hym not; he apereþ forſoþe to þem, þat feiþ han in to hym. Shreude forſoþe þoȝtis ſeueren fro God; preued forſoþe vertu chaſtiſeþ vnwiſe men. For in to an euell willi ſoule ſhal not gon in wiſdam; ne ſhal dwelle in a bodi ſoget to ſynnes. An holi ſpirit forſoþe ſhal flee þe feynere of diſcipline, and ſhal taken hymſelf awei fro þoȝtis, þat ben wiþout vnderſtonding; and he ſhal be chaſtiſid fro þe ouercomende wickidneſſe. Benyngne is þe ſpirit of wiſdam, and he ſhal not deliuere þe curſid fro his lippis; for of þe reenus of hym witneſſe is God, and of þe herte of hym he is verre ſerchere, and of þe tunge of hym herere. For þe Spirit of þe Lord fulfilde þe rondneſſe of londis; and þat, þat conteneþ alle þingus, kunnyng haþ of vois. For þat he þat ſpekeþ wicke þingus, mai not lurke; ne chaſtyſende dom ſhal beſide paſſen hym. In þe þoȝtis forſoþe of þe vnpitous aſking ſhal be. Of þe ſermounes forſoþe of hym heering to God ſhal come, and to þe correcciouns of þe wickidneſſes of hym; for þe ere of þe ielous hereþ alle þingis, and þe noiſe of grucchingus ſhal not ben hid. Kepe ȝee þanne ȝou fro grucching, þat no þing profiteþ, and fro bacbiting ſpareþ to þe tunge; for a derc ſermoun in veyn ſhal not go; þe mouþ forſoþe þat lieþ, ſleþ þe ſoule. Wileþ not loouen deþ, in errour of ȝoure lif, ne purchaſe ȝee perdicioun in þe werkis of ȝoure hondis; for God made not deþ, ne gladeþ in þe leeſing of men of liue. Forſoþe God made, þat alle þingus weren; and able to helþe he made þe naciouns of þe roundneſſe of londis. Forſoþe þer is not in hem leching of deſtruccioun, ne þe reume of helle is in þe erþe. riȝtwiſneſſe forſoþe is perpetuel, and vndeadli; vnriȝtwiſneſſe forſoþe purchaſing of deþ. Vnpitous men forſoþe wiþ hondis and wrdis haunteden it, and eymende it a frend, floweden doun, and beheſtes þey putteden to it; for deþ þei ben wrþi, þat ben of þe part of it.
Forſoþe vnpitouſe men ſeiden, þenkende anent hemſelue not riȝt, Litil and wiþ noȝe is þe time of oure lif; þer is not refreſhing in þe ende of a man, and þer is not, þat be knowen turned aȝeen fro helle. For of noȝt wee ben born, and aftir þeſe þingus wee ſhul be, as þoȝ wee hadden not ben; for ſmoke and blaſt is in oure noſe þerles, and ſermoun of a ſparcle to ſtirn togidere oure herte. For quenchyd aſhen ſhal ben oure bodi, and þe ſpirit ſhal be held abrod as ſofte eir; and oure lif ſhal paſſe as þe ſtep of a cloude, and as a litil cloude ben vnknyt, þat is dryuen of þe bemes of þe ſunne, and of þe hete of it agreggid. And oure name forȝeting ſhal take by tyme; and no man ſhal han mynde of oure werkis. Forſoþe þe paſſing of þe ſhadewe is oure tyme, and þer is not turning aȝeen of oure ende; for it is al cloſid, and no man turneþ aȝeen. Comeþ þanne, and vſe wee þe goodis þat ben, and vſe wee creature, as in oure ȝouþe, ſwiftli. Wiþ precyous win and oynemens fille wee vs; and paſſe not vs þe flour of tyme. Crowne wee vs wiþ roſes, er þei welewen; no medwe be, þat oure leccherie paſſe not þurȝ. Noon of vs be wiþoute lot of oure leccherie; ouer al lefe wee ſignes of gladneſſe; for þis is oure part, and þis is lot. Oppreſſe wee þe riȝtwis pore man, and ſpare wee not to þe widewe, ne wrſhipe wee hoere heres of þe olde man of myche time. Be forſoþe oure ſtrengþe þe lawe of vnriȝtwiſneſſe; forſoþe þat þat is feble, vnprofitable is founde. Bigile wee þanne þe riȝtwis man, for vnprofitable he is to vs, and contrarie to oure werkis; and repreuendeli puttiþ to vs þe ſynnes of lawe, and defameþ aȝen vs þe ſynnes of oure diſciplyne. He behoteþ hym þe kunnyng of God to han, and þe ſone of God he nempneþ hymſelf. He is mad to vs in to ouerleding of oure þoȝtis. Heuy he is to vs alſo to ſeen; for vnlic to oþere is þe lif of hym, and myche chaungid ben þe weies of hym. As trifleres wee ben eymed of hym, and he abſteneþ hymſelf fro oure weies, as fro vnclenneſſes; and he telliþ biforn þe laſte þingus of riȝtwis men, and he glorieþ hymſelf to han God to fader. See wee þanne, if þe wrdis of hym ben trewe; and aſaȝe wee, what ben to comen to hym; and wee ſhul wite, what ſhul ben þe laſte þingis of hym. If forſoþe he is verre ſone of God, he ſhal vndertaken hym, and delyuere hym fro þe hondis of þe contrarioſe. Wiþ wrong vndernymyng and torment aſke wee hym, þat wee wite þe reuerence of hym, and proue þe pacience of hym. Bi moſt foul deþ condempne wee hym; forſoþe reſpit ſhal be of þe wrdis of hym. Þeſe þingus þei þoȝten, and erreden; and þe malice of hem blendede þem. And þei knewen not þe ſacramens of God, ne hopeden þe meede of riȝtwiſneſſe, ne demeden þe wrſhepe of holi ſoules. For God made man vndeadli, and to þe ymage of his licneſſe made hym. Forſoþe þurȝ þe enuye of þe deuel deþ cam in in to þe roundneſſe of erþis; forſoþe þei folewen hym, þat ben of þe part of hym.
The ſoules of riȝtwis men ben in þe hond of God; and torment of deþ ſhal not touche þem. Þei ben ſeen to þe eȝen of vnwiſe men to dien; tormenting is eymed þe iſſue of hem. And fro a riȝtwis weie þei wenten in to deſtruccioun, and þat of vs ys weie of deſtruccioun; þei forſoþe ben in pes. And if befor men þei ſuffreden tormentis, þe hope of hem is ful of vndeadlyneſſe. In fewe þingus trauailid, in manye þingus þei ſhul be weel diſpoſid; for God temptede þem, and fond hem wrþi hymſelf. As gold in furneis he prouede þem, and as brent ſacrifiſe of oſt he loouwede þem; and in time ſhal ben þe biholding of hem. Þei ſhul ſhyne riȝtwis, and as ſparcles in reeddy places þei ſhuln renne hider and þider. Þei ſhul deme naciouns, and lordſhipen to puples; and þe Lord of hem ſhal regne in to wiþoute ende. Who troſten in hym, ſhuln vnderſtonde treuþe; and feiþful in looue þei ſhul aſſente to hym; for free ȝifte and pes is to þe choſen men of hym. Vnpitous men forſoþe, aftir þat þei þoȝten, vndernymynges ſhuln han; þat diſpiſeden þe riȝtwis, and fro þe Lord wenten awei. Wiſdam forſoþe and diſcipline who caſteþ awei, is vnſeli; and voide is þe hope of hem, and trauailes wiþoute frut, and vnprofitable þe werkis of þem, and vnable to dwelle in. Þe wymmen of þem ben vnwiſe, and moſt wicke þe ſonus of hem. Curſid þe creature of þem; for ſeli is þe bareyn, and þe vndefoulid, þat kneȝ not þe bed in treſpas, ſhal han frut in beholding of holi ſoulis. And þe gelding, þat wroȝte not bi his hondis wickidneſſe, ne þoȝte aȝen þe Lord moſt wicke þingus; forſoþe þer ſhal ben ȝiue to hym þe choſen fre ȝifte of þe beleeue, and lot in þe temple of God moſt aloowid. Forſoþe of goode trauailes glorious is þe frut, and þe whiche þe roote of wiſdam al to-ſtereþ not. Þe ſones forſoþe of auoutreres in ending ſhul ben, and fro þe wicke bed þe ſeed ſhal ben outlawid. And if forſoþe of long lif þei ſhul be, in noȝt þei ſhul be countid; and wiþoute wrſhipe ſhal be þe laſte eelde of hem. And if ſwiftliere þei ſhul ben dead, þei ſhul not han hope, ne in þe dai of knouleching ſpeche. Forſoþe wicke naciouns ben of hard ending.
O! hou fair is chaſt ieneracioun wiþ clerte; vndeadli forſoþe is þe mynde of it, for anent God it is knowe, and anent men. Whan preſent it is, þei folewe; and deſiren it, whan it haþ lad out itſelf, and it crouned in to wiþoute ende berþ þe victorie, takende bi victorie þe meede of þe vndefoulid ſtriues. Forſoþe þe manyfold goten multitude of vnpitouſe men ſhal not ben profitable; and auoutrie plauntingis ſhul not ȝiue heeȝe rootis, ne ſtable ſtedefaſtneſſe ſetten. And if in þe braunchis in þe tyme buriounen, vnſtabli ſet of þe wind þei ſhul ben al to-ſtirid, and of þe mychilneſſe of windis pullid vp bi þe rootis. Forſoþe braunchis vnendid ſhul be tobroken; and þe frutis of þem vnprofitable, and ſoure to ete, and to no þing able. Forſoþe alle þe ſonus, þat ſhul ben born of wicke men, witneſſes ben of ſhreudeneſſes aȝen fader and moder, in þer aſking. Þe riȝtwis forſoþe, if he were beforn ocupied bi deþ, in refreſhing ſhal ben. Þe laſte age forſoþe wrſhipeful is not longe durende, ne in noumbre of ȝeres countid; hoere ben þe wittis of man, and þe age of eelde lijf vndefoulid. Þe pleſing to God mad looued, and lyuyng among ſynneres is tranſlatid; he is raueſhid, leſt malice ſhulde chaunge þe vnderſtonding of hym, or leſt feynyng ſhulde begile þe ſoule of hym. Forſoþe priue deſceyuyng of trifling derkneþ goode þingus, and vnſtableneſſe of coueiting ouerturneþ wit wiþoute malice. Þe ful endid in ſhort fulfilde manye tymes; pleſid forſoþe to God was þe ſoule of hym; for þat he wente to bringen hym out fro þe myddel of ſhreudeneſſes; puples forſoþe ſeende and not vnderſtondende, nouþer ben puttende in þer hertes ſuche þingis. For grace of God and mercy is in to his ſeyntis, and ferþermor reſpit in to þe choſyn of hym. Forſoþe þe riȝtwis dead condempneþ þe vnpitous men on liue; and ȝouþe ſwiftliere endid, þe longe lif of þe vnriȝtwis. Forſoþe þei ſhul ſee þe ende of þe wiſe man, and þei ſhul not vnderſtonde, what God haþ þoȝt of hym, and whi þe Lord mynuſhte, or made lytil hym. Þei ſhul ſeen, and diſpiſen hym; hem forſoþe þe Lord ſhal ſcorne. And þei ſhul ben after þeſe þingus falling doun wiþ oute wrſhipe, and in wrong blamyng among þe deade in to wiþoute ende. For þem inwardli blowen he ſhal to-breke wiþoute vois, and ſtern hem fro þe foundemens; and vnto þe heȝeſt þei ſhul ben deſolat. And þei ſhul be weilende, and þe mynde of hem ſhal perſhen. Þei ſhul comen in þe þenking of þer ſynnes dredful; and ſhuln ouerleden hem forn aȝen þe wickidneſſes of hem.
Thanne ſhul ſtonde riȝtwis men in gret ſtedefaſtneſſe aȝen hem þat anguyſſheden hem, and þat token awei þe trauailes of hem. Seende þei ſhul ben diſturbid wiþ orrible drede, and ſhul merueilen in þe ſodeyneſſe of þe vnhopid helþe, weilende for anguyſh of ſpirit, ſeiende, wiþinne þemſelf penaunce doende, and for anguyſh of ſpirit weilende, Þeſe ben, whom wee hadden ſum tyme in to ſcorn, and in to licneſſe of repref. Wee vnwiſe eymeden þe lif of hem wodneſſe, and þe ende of þem wiþout wrſhipe; hou þanne ben þei countid among þe ſonus of God, and among ſeyntis þe lot of hem is? Þerfore wee erreden fro þe weie of treuþe, and þe liȝt of riȝtwiſneſſe liȝtede not to vs, and þe ſunne off vnderſtonding is not ſprunge to vs. Weri wee ben in þe weie of wickidneſſe, and of perdicioun; and wee han gon harde weies. Þe wei forſoþe of þe Lord wee knewen not; what profitede to vs pride, or boſt of richeſſes what ȝaf it to vs? Alle þo þingus paſſeden as ſhadewe, and as a meſſager rennende biforn. And as a ſhip, þat paſſeþ þurȝ þe flowende water, of þe whiche whan it is paſſid, a ſtep is not to finde, ne a paþ of his botme in þe flodis. Or as a brid, þat ouerfleþ in þe eir, of þe whiche noon euydence is founden of his weie, but onli þe ſoun of weengis betende þe liȝt wind, and kuttende bi fors þe eir of þe weie, and togidere ſtirid þe weenges ouerfleþ, and aftir þat no ſigne is founden of his weie. Or as an arwe ſent out in to þe ordeyned place, þe eir deuydid contynueli is recloſid in it, þat þe paſſing of it be vnknowen. So and wee born contynueli lefen to ben, and of vertue noon forſoþe ſigne wee myȝten ſhewe; in oure wariedhed forſoþe wee ben waſtid. Such þingus ſeyden in helle þeſe þat ſynneden. For þe hope of þe vnpitous is as a wlle loke, or þiſtildoun þat of þe wind is taken awei, and as a ſmal fome þat of tempeſt is ſprengd awei, and as ſmoke þat of þe wind is held abrod, and as þe mynde of a geſte of o dai, paſſende biſide. Riȝtwiſe men forſoþe in to wiþoute ende ſhul lyue, and anent þe Lord is þe meede of hem; and þe þoȝt of hem anent þe heȝeſt. Þerfore þei ſhul take þe reume of wrſhipe, and þe diademe of fairneſſe of þe hond of þe Lord; for wiþ his riȝt hond he ſhal couere þem, and wiþ his holi arm defenden hem. And þe ielouſte of hym ſhal taken armure, and armen creature to þe veniyng of enemys. He ſhal cloþen for þe breſt plate riȝtwiſneſſe, and he ſhal take to for þe helm certein dom; he ſhal take þe ſheeld vnuenkuſable equite; he ſhal ſharpe forſoþe hard wraþe in to a ſpere, and þe roundneſſe of erþis ſhal fiȝte wiþ hym aȝen þe vnwiſe. Þe ſendingus out of leitis ſhul gon euene riȝt, and as at þe teiſing þe bowe of cloudis bent, þei ſhul ben outlawid; and to a certeyn place þei ſhul lepen in. And fro þe ſtony wraþeful hailes ſhul ben ſent, and water of þe ſe ſhal teenden in to þem, and flodis ſhul renne togidere hard. Aȝen hem þe ſpirit of vertue ſhal ſtonde, and as a whirle puff of wind deuyden hem; and to wilderneſſe he ſhal fulli bringen al þe lond of þe wickidneſſe of hem, and wariedhed ſhal turne awei þe ſetis of myȝti men.
Betere is wiſdam þan ſtrengþis, and a man prudent more þan a ſtrong man. Hereþ þanne, ȝee kingis, and vndirſtondiþ; lerneþ, ȝee domes men of þe coeſtes of þe erþe. Ȝiueþ eres, ȝee þat holden togidere multitudis, and pleſen to ȝou in cumpanyes of naciouns; for þer is ȝouen of þe Lord power to ȝou, and vertue of þe heiȝeſte, þat ſhal aſke ȝoure werkis, and þoȝtis ſerchen. For whan ȝee weren myneſtres of his reume, not riȝtli ȝee demeden, ne kepten þe lawe of riȝtwiſneſſe, ne aftir þe wil of God ȝee wenten. Orribleli and ſoone he ſhal apere to ȝou; for moſt hard dom ſhal ben don in hem, þat ben biforn. Forſoþe to þe litle is grauntid mercy; myȝty men forſoþe myȝtili tormentis ſhul ſuffre. Forſoþe he ſhal not wiþdrawe þe perſone of any man, þe Lord, þat is lordſhipere of alle þingus, and he ſhal not drede þe mykilneſſe of any man; for litil and gret he made, and euenli cure is to hym of alle. To þe ſtrengere forſoþe ſtrengere ſtant in tormenting. To ȝou þanne, kingus, ben þeſe my wrdis, þat ȝee lerne wiſdam, and þat ȝee falle not of. Who forſoþe ſhul kepe riȝtwiſneſſe, riȝtly ſhul be demed; and þat ſhul lerne riȝt þingus, ſhul finde, what þei anſwere. Coueiteþ þanne my wrdys, and looueþ hem; and ȝee ſhuln han diſciplyne. Wiſdam is cler, and þat neuere welewiþ; and liȝtli is ſeen of hem þat loouen it, and is founde of hem þat ſechen it. It beforn ocupieþ þat coueyteþ it, þat to þem raþere he ſhewe hymſelf. Who fro liȝt ſhal wake to it, ſhal not trauailen; forſoþe he ſhal finde it ſittende in his ȝates. Þanne to þenken of it is ful endid wit, and he þat ſhal wake for it, ſoone ſhal be ſikir. For it goþ aboute ſechende þe wrþi itſelf; and in his weis it ſhal ſhewe itſelf to þem, and gladſumli in alle prouydence or bifore ordeynyng it ſhal aȝen come to þem. Þe bigynnyng forſoþe of it is moſt verre coueityng of diſcipline. Þanne cure of diſcipline is loouyng; and loouyng is keping of his lawis. Keping forſoþe of lawes is ful ending of vncorupcioun; vncorupcioun forſoþe makiþ next to God to ben. And ſo coueiting of wiſdam ſhal lede forþ to þe euerlaſtende kingdam. If þanne ȝee deliten in ſetes, and in kingus dignetees, O! ȝee kingis of þe puple, looueþ wiſdam, þat in to wiþoute ende ȝee regne. Looueþ þe liȝt of wiſdam, alle ȝee, þat ben toforn to puplis. What is forſoþe wiſdam, and hou it be mad, I ſhal telle; and I ſhal not hide fro ȝou þe ſacramentis of God; but fro þe bigynnyng of birþe I ſhal enſerche, and putten in to liȝt þe kunnyng of it, and I ſhal not paſſe biſide þe treuþe. Ne wiþ þe quyterende enuye weie I ſhal han; for ſuch a man ſhal not ben parcener of wiſdam. Þe multitude forſoþe of wiſe men helþe is of þe roundneſſe of erþis; and a wis king is þe ſtablete of þe puple. Þanne takiþ diſcipline bi my wrdis, and it ſhal profite to ȝou.
I am forſoþe and a deadli man, lic to men, and of þe erþi kinde of hym þat raþere is mad, and in þe wombe of þe modir figured I am fleſh. In time of ten moneþis cruddid I am in to blod, of þe ſed of man, and of couenable deliting of ſlep. And I born toc comun eir, and lic maner fel doun in to þe mad erþe; and þe firſte vois, lic alle, I putte out weping. I was nurſhid in ſwaþing cloþis, and in grete beſyneſſes; no man forſoþe of kingis oþer haþ bigynnyng of birþe. Oon entre is to alle to lif, and lijc iſſue. For þat I deſirede, and þere is ȝiue to me wit; and I inwardli clepide, and þere cam in me þe ſpirit of wiſdam. And I putte it biforn to reumes, and ſetes; and richeſſes I ſeide no þing to ben in compariſoun of it, ne I compariſounede to it a precious ſton; for alle gold in compariſoun of it is a litil grauel, and as clei ſiluer ſhal ben eymed in þe ſiȝte of it. Ouer helþe and fairneſſe I loouede it; and I purpoſide for liȝt to han it, for vnquenchable is þe lyȝt of it. Forſoþe þere camen to me alle goodis togidere wiþ it; and vnnoumbrable honeſte by þe hondis of it. And I gladede in alle þingus; for þis wiſdam wente befor me, and I kneȝ not, for of alle goodis it is moder. For wiþoute feynyng I lernede, and wiþoute enuye I comune; and þe oneſte of it I hidde not. Forſoþe treſor it is wiþoute ende to men, þe whiche who uſeden, parcener ben mad of þe frenſhipe of God, commendid for þe ȝiftis of diſcipline. To me forſoþe God ȝaf to ſeyn of ſentence, and to take bifore þe wrþi þingis of þeſe þat ben ȝiue to me; for he is duk of wiſdam, and þe mendere of wiſe men. In þe hond forſoþe of hym and wee, and oure wrdis, and alle wiſdam, and diſciplyne of þe kunnyng of werkes. He forſoþe ȝaf to me verre kunnyng of þeſe þat ben, þat I wite þe diſpoſicioun of þe roundneſſe of erþis, and þe vertues of elemens; þe begynnyng, and þe ende, and þe myddil of tymes; þe chaungingus of whilemelis, and þe endingus of times; þe chaungingus of maneris, and deuyſeouns of times; þe courſis of þe ȝeer, and þe diſpoſicioun of ſterres; þe kindis of beſtes, and þe wraþis of noȝous beſtis; þe ſtrengþe of windis, and þe þoȝtis of men; þe differences of ȝunge trees, and vertues of rootis. And what euere þing be hid and vnpurueid, I lernede; forſoþe þe craftus man of alle þingus taȝte me bi wiſdam. Forſoþe þer is in it þe ſpirit of vnderſtonding, hoeli, many fold, onli, ſotile, manerli, faire ſpekende, mouable, vndefoulid, certeyn, ſweete, loouende good deede, þat no þing forfendiþ to do weel; manli, benygne, ſtable, ſikir, alle hauende vertue, alle þingus beholdende, and þat takeþ alle intelligible ſpiritis, clene, ſotile. Þanne alle forſoþe mouable þingis mor mouable is wiſdam; forſoþe it ateyneþ ouer al, for his clenneſſe. Forſoþe þe humour of þe vertu of God it is, and þe maner going out is a clene clerneſſe of þe Almyȝti God; and þerfore no þing defoulid renneþ in to it. Forſoþe whitneſſe it is of þe euerlaſtende liȝt, and a merour wiþoute wem of þe maieſte of God, and an ymage of þe goodneſſe of hym. And ſiþen it is oon, alle þingus it mai; and abidende ſtille in itſelf, alle þingus it neweþ, and bi naciouns to hoeli ſoules it berþ ouer itſelf; þe frendis of God and profetes it ordeyneþ. No man forſoþe God looueþ, but hym þat dwelliþ wiþ wiſdam. Forſoþe þis is fairere þan þe ſunne, and ouer al diſpoſicioun of ſterres; to liȝt comparyſouned, it is founde raþere. To it forſoþe nyȝt goþ doun; wiſdam forſoþe malice ouercomeþ not.
Therfore it ateyneþ from ende vnto ende ſtrongli, and diſpoſeþ alle þingus ſweeteli. Þis I loouede, and ſoȝte it out fro my ȝouþe; and I ſoȝte to taken it a ſpouſe to me, and loouere I am mad of þe foorme of it. It hauende þe cumpanye of God, glorifieþ þe ientilneſſe of it; but and of alle þingis þe Lord loouede it. Forſoþe þe techereſſe it is of þe diſcipline of God, and þe cheſereſſe of þe werkis of hym. And if richeſſes ben deſirid in þe lif, what richere þan wiſdam, þat wercheþ alle þingis? If forſoþe wit wercheþ, who of þeſe þat ben, more is crafti man þan it? And if riȝtwiſneſſe a man looueþ, þe trauailes of þis han grete vertues; ſobreneſſe forſoþe and prudence it techeþ, and riȝtwiſneſſe, and vertue; þan þe whiche more profitable no þing is in lif to men. And if multitude of kunnyng deſireþ a man, it knowiþ þe paſſid þingus, and of þe to comen it eymeþ; it knowiþ þe felneſſe of wrdis, and þe ſoilingis off argumentis; þe toknes and wndris it knowiþ, er þei ben don; and þe chaunſis of tymes and of worldis. Þanne I purpoſide þis to bringe to me, to feſteye wiþ me; witende for wiþ me it ſhal comune of goodis, and þer ſhal be togidere ſpeche of þenking, and of myn anoȝe. I haue for þis to cumpanyes clerneſſe, and wrſhipe anent þe elderes; ȝung and ſharp I ſhal be founde in dom, and in þe ſiȝte of myȝti men merueilous I ſhal be, and þe faces of princes ſhul merueilen me. Þei ſhul ſuſtene me, beende ſtille, and me ſpekende, beholden; and me ſermounende manye þingis, hondis to þer mouþ þei ſhul putte. Ferþermor I haue bi þis vndeadlyneſſe; and euere laſtende mynde to þem, þat after me ben to come, I ſhal lefe. I ſhal diſpoſe puples; and naciouns to me ſhul ben ſoget. Ferful kingus herende me ſhul dreden; and in multitude good I ſhal be ſeen, and in bataile ſtronge. Entrende in to myn hous, I ſhal reſte wiþ it; forſoþe þe conuerſacioun of it haþ not bitterneſſe, ne noȝe þe wiþ lyuyng of it, but gladneſſe and ioȝe. Þeſe þingus þenkende anent me, and togidere membrende in myn herte; for vndeadli is wiſdam in þenking, and in þe frenſhipe of it good delitende; and in þe werkus of þe hondis of it honeſte wiþ oute failing, and in þe ſtrif of þe ſpeche of it wiſdam; and gret openyng in comunycacioun of þe wrdis of it; I wente aboute, ſechende þat to me it I ſhulde take. A child forſoþe I was witti, and bi lot hauende a good ſoule. And whan I was more good, I cam to a bodi vndefoulid. And as I wiſte, for oþer wiſe I mai not ben contenent, but God ȝeue, and þat ſelue was wiſdam, to knowen of whom was þat ȝifte; I wente to þe Lord, and preȝede hym, and ſeide, of alle þe entrailis of myn herte.
God of my fadris, and Lord of mercy, þat madeſt alle þingus wiþ þi wrd, and wiþ þi wiſdam ordeynedeſt man, þat he ſhulde lordſhepen of creature, þat of þee is mad, þat he diſpoſe þe roundneſſe of londis in equyte and riȝtwiſneſſe, and in riȝt reuling of herte he deme dom; ȝif to me wiſdam, þe neeȝh ſtondere of þi ſetis; and wile þou not me repreuen of þi childer. For I am þi ſeruaunt, and þe ſone of þin hand woman; a feble man, and of litil time, and laſſe to þe vndirſtonding of dom and of lawes. And if any man ſhul ben ful endid of þe ſonus of men, if fro hym flee wiſdam, in to noȝt he ſhal be countid. Þou forſoþe choſe me king to þi puple, and domyſman of þi ſonus and doȝtris; and þou ſeidiſt, me to bilden a temple in þin holi hil, and in þe cite of þi dwelling an auter; þe licneſſe of þin holi tabernacle, þat þou greiþediſt fro þe begynnyng. And wiþ þee þi wiſdam, þat kneȝ þi werkis, þe whiche and was at þanne, whan þe roundneſſe of erþis þou ſhuldiſt make, and he wiſt þat, þat was pleſaunt to þin eȝen, and þat, þat is riȝt in þin heſtis. Send fro þin holi heuenes it, and fro þe ſete of þi mychilneſſe, þat wiþ me it be, and wiþ me trauaile; and I wite what be aloouwid anent þee. Forſoþe it wot alle þingus, and vndirſtandiþ; and ſhal leden me forþ in my werkes ſobrely, and kepen me in his power. And my werkys ſhul ben aloouwid, and I ſhal diſpoſen þi puple riȝtwiſly, and I ſhal ben wrþi þe ſetes of my fader. Who forſoþe of men ſhal moun wite þe counſeil of God? or who ſhal moun þenke, what God wile? Þe þoȝtis forſoþe of deadli men dredful, and vncerteyn oure purueauncis. Forſoþe þe body þat is corumpid, greeueþ þe ſoule; and erþeli indwelling preſſeþ doun þe wit, manye þingus þenkende. And of hard wee eymen, þat ben in þe erþe; and þat in ferr ſiȝte ben, we finden wiþ trauaile. Þat forſoþe in heuenus ben, who ſhal enſerche? Þi wit forſoþe who ſhal knowe, but if þou ſhul ȝyue wiſdam, and ſende þin Holi Spirit fro heȝeſt þingus? And ſo amendid ben þe paþis of hem, þat ben in erþis, and þat to þee pleſeden, men lerneden. For whi bi wiſdam þei ben helid, who ſo euer pleſeden to þee, Lord, fro þe bygynnyng.
This hym, þat firſt is foormed of God, þe fader of þe roundneſſe of erþis, whan alone he was foormed, kepte. And ladde hym out fro his gilte, and broȝte hym out of þe ſlym of erþe, and ȝaf to hym vertue of hauynge alle þingus. Fro þis as þe vnriȝtwiſe wente awei in his wraþe, bi þe wraþe of manſlaȝter perſhede fraternyte. For þe whiche whan water ſhulde don awei þe erþe, he helede eftſoone bi wiſdam; bi þe diſpiſable tree gouernende þe riȝtwis man. Þis and in þe conſenting of pride, whan naciouns rereden hemſelf, knew þe riȝtwis, and kepte wiþoute blame to God; and in þe ſones gret merci kepte. Þis þe riȝtwis fro þe perſhende vnpitous men deliuerede fleende, fijr deſcendende in to þe regioun of fiue citees. To þe whiche, in to þe witneſſing of ſhreudeneſſe, þe deſert erþe is knowen ful of ſmoking, and in certeyn time þe trees hauende frutes; and of þe myſbeleeued ſoule þe mynde ſtondende is þe foormyng of ſalt. Forſoþe paſſende biſide wiſdam, not onli in þat ben ſlyden, þat þei vnknowen gode þingis, but and of þer vnwiſdam þei han laft to men mynde, þat in þo þingus, þat þei ſynneden, þei myȝten not lurken. Wiſdam forſoþe þem, þat it kepen, al aboute fro ſorewes ſhal delyuere. Þis forſoþe þe ferr fugitif, or fleynge riȝtwis fro þe wraþe of þe broþer, ladde awei bi riȝt weies; and ſhewede to hym þe kingdam of God, and ȝaf to hym þe kunnyng of ſeyntis; it honeſtede hym in trauailes, and fulfilde þe trauailes of hym. In þe gile of þe men comende aboute to hym, it was nyȝ, and honeſt made hym. It kepte hym fro enemys, and fro deſceyueres defendide hym; and a ſtrong ſtrif it ȝaf to hym, þat he ſhulde ouercome, and wite, for of alle þingis þe myȝtiere is wiſdam. Þis þis olde riȝtwis man forſoc not, but fro ſynneres deliuerede hym; and it deſcendide wiþ hym in to þe dich; and in bondis forſoc not hym, to þe time þat it ſhulde bringe to hym þe dignete of þe reume, and myȝt aȝen hem þat hym þreſteden doun; and lieres he ſhewide, þat defouleden hym, and he ȝaf to hym euere laſtende clerneſſe. Þis þe riȝtwis puple, and hoely wiþoute blame, delyuerede fro naciouns, þat it opreſſeden. It entride in to þe ſoule of þe ſeruaunt of God, and ſtod aȝen grisful kingus, in grete wndris and ſignes. And it ȝeeld to þe riȝtwis men þe meede of þer trauailes, and broȝte þem þennes in a merueylous weie; and it was to þem in þe coueryng of þe day, and in liȝt of ſterres bi þe nyȝt. And he bar þem ouer þurȝ þe rede ſe; and he ouercariede þem þurȝ ful myche water. Þe enemys forſoþe of hem he drenchide in þe ſe; and fro þe depneſſe of helle he ladde þem out. Þerfore riȝtwis men token awei þe ſpoiles of vnpitous men; and heeȝli ſungen, Lord, þin holi name, and þin hond ouercomere þei preiſeden togidere. For wiſdam openede þe mouþ of doumbe men, and þe tunges of vnſpekende childer made faire ſpekende.
It riȝt reulede þe werkis of hem, in þe hondus of þe holi profete. Weie þei maden bi deſertis, þat ben not dwellid in; and in deſert places þei maden litil cotes. Þei ſtoden aȝen enemys, and of þe enemys þei venieden hemſelf. Þei þriſteden, and inwardli clepeden þee; and þer is ȝoue to þem water of þe heȝeſt ſton, and reſte of þriſt of þe harde ſton. Bi þo þingis forſoþe þat þe enemys of hem ſuffreden peynes, fro þe defauting of þer drinc, and whan þe ſones of Irael hadden plente, gladeden; bi þeſe þingus, whan to þem hadden failid, wel wiþ þem is don. Forwhi forſoþe for þe welle of þe euerlaſtende flod, mannys blod þou ȝeue to vnriȝtwis men. Þe whiche whan þei weren mynuſht, in þe ouerleding of þe ſlayne litle childer, þou ȝeue to þem abundende water in maner not hopid; ſhewende bi þe þriſt, þat þanne was, hou þine þou ſhuldeſt enhauncen, and þe aduerſaries of hem ſlen. Whan forſoþe þei weren temptid, forſoþe and wiþ mercy diſciplyne þei token; þei wiſten, hou wiþ wraþe vnpitous men demed, tormentis ſhulden ſuffre. Þeſe forſoþe as a fader warnende, þou prouedeſt; hem forſoþe as an hard king aſkende, þou condempnediſt. Forſoþe þe abſent men and þe preſent lic maner weren tormentid. Forſoþe double noȝe hadde taken hem, and weiling wiþ þe mynde of þe paſſid þingis. Whan forſoþe þei herden, bi þer tormentis wel wiþ þem to ben do, þei membreden þe Lord, merueilende in to þe ende of þe going out. Whom forſoþe in a ſhreude putting out þei ſcorneden caſt aferr, in to þe ende of þat þat fel, merueileden; not lic maner to riȝtwis men doende. For vnwis þoȝtis forſoþe þe wickidneſſis of hem, þat ſumme errende herieden doumbe edderes, and ouer veyne beſtes, þou ſentiſt in to þem a multitude of doumbe beſtes, in to veniaunce; þat þei ſhulden witen, for bi þo þingus þat a man ſynneþ, bi þo þingus alſo he ſhal be tormentid. Forſoþe not inpoſſible was þin almyȝti hond, þat made þe roundneſſe of erþis of mater vnſeen, to ſenden in to þem a multitude of beres, or hardi leouns, or of newe kinde vnknowen beſtes, and ful of wraþe, or ſpittende breþing of fires, or bringende forþ ſmel of ſmoke, or puttende out grisful ſparkes fro eȝen; of whiche not onli þe hurting hadde mouȝt deſtroȝed þem, but and þe looking bi drede ſlen. But and wiþoute þeſe wiþ o ſpirit þei myȝten ben ſlayn, ſuffrid perſecucioun of þer deedis ſelf, and ſcatered bi þe ſpirit of hys vertue. But and alle þingus in meſure, and noumbre, and peis þou diſpoſediſt; forſoþe myche to moun, to þee alone ouer was euermore; and to þe vertue of þin arm who ſhal aȝenſtonde? For as a poynt of a balaunce, ſo is befor þee þe roundneſſe of erþis; and as a drope of morutid dew, þat goþ doun in to þe erþe. And þou haſt merci of alle, for alle þingus þou maiſt; and þou forberiſt þe ſynnes of men, for penaunce. Forſoþe þou looueſt alle þingus þat ben, and no þing þou hatedeſt of hem, þat þou madiſt; ne forſoþe hatende any þing þou ordeynedeſt, or madiſt. Hou forſoþe myȝte any þing abide ſtille, but þou haddeſt wold? or þat of þee were not clepid, ſhulde ben kept? Þou ſpariſt forſoþe to alle; for þine þei ben, Lord, þat looueſt ſoulis.
O! hou good, and hou ſwete, Lord, is þi Spirit in vs; þerfore þem þat out erren in parties, þou chaſtiſiſt; and of þe whiche þingus þei ſynnen, þou warneſt, and ſpekeſt to, þat, þe malice laft, þei leeuen in þee, Lord. Forſoþe þo olde dwelleris of þin holi lond, þe which þou griſediſt; for hateful werkis þei diden to þee, bi lechingus, and ſacrifiſes vnriȝtwiſe; and þe ſleeres of þer ſonus, wiþoute mercy, and þe eteres of þe boweles of men, and þe deuoureres of blod; and þe fadris and modris, autoures of þe ſoules vnholpen, leeſe þou woldiſt not fro þi myddel ſacrament, bi þe hondis of þer fadris and modris; þat þe wrþi pilgrimaging of þe childer of God þei ſhulden parceyue, þe whiche is a lond more cheere to þee of alle. But and to þeſe as to men þou ſparediſt, and ſentiſt waſpis, beforgoeres of þin oſt, þat þem litilmel þei ſhulden deſtroȝen. Not for þou were vnmyȝti in bataile to ſogeten vnpitous men to riȝtwis men, or bi cruel beſtes, or bi hard wrd to deſtroȝe togidere; but bi parties demende, þou ȝaue place of penaunce, not vnknowende, for ſhreude is þe nacioun of hem, and kindely þe malice of þem, and for þe þoȝt of þem myȝte not ben chaungid in to euermor. Þe ſed forſoþe was curſid fro þe bigynnyng. Ne dredende any man, forȝyueneſſe þou ȝeue to þe ſynnes of þem. Who forſoþe ſhal ſey to þee, What madiſt þou? or who ſhal ſtonde aȝen þi dom? or who in þi ſiȝte ſhal comen, veniere of wicke men? or who ſhal wijte to þee, if naciouns perſhen, þat þou haſt mad? Forſoþe þere is noon oþer God þan þou, to whom is cure of alle, þat þou ſhewe, for not vnriȝtwiſly þou demeſt dom. Ne forſoþe king ne tiraunt in þi ſiȝte ſhul enſerche of þeſe þingus, þat þou haſt deſtroȝed. Siþen þanne þou art riȝtwis, alle þingis riȝtwiſly þou diſpoſiſt; hym alſo, O! fader, þat owiþ not to be punſhid, condempnende, and ſtraunge þou eymeſt fro þi vertue. Forſoþe þi vertue is þe bigynnyng of riȝtwiſneſſe; and for þat, þat of alle þou art lord, to alle þou makeſt þee to ſparen. Forſoþe vertue ſhewiſt þou, þat art not beleeued to ben in vertue ful endid; and hem þat knowen not þee, in hardyneſſe þou ouerlediſt. Þou forſoþe, lordſhipere of vertue, wiþ peſibleneſſe demeſt, and wiþ gret reuerence diſpoſiſt vs; forſoþe þer vnderliþ to þee, whan þou wilt, to moun. Forſoþe þou taȝtiſt þi puple bi ſuche werkis, for it behoueþ to ben riȝtwis, and manly; and þou madiſt þi ſones of good hope, for demende þou ȝyueſt place of penaunce in ſynnes. If forſoþe þe enemys of þi ſeruauns, and due to deþ, wiþ ſo myche tentifneſſe þou tormentediſt, and deliueredeſt, ȝiuende time and place, bi þe whiche þei myȝten be chaungid fro malice; wiþ hou myche diligence demeſt þou þi ſones, to whos fadris and modris, oþis and couenauntis þou ȝeue of goode beheſtes? Þanne whan þou ȝiueſt to vs diſcipline, oure enemys manyfold þou ſcourgiſt, þat þi goodneſſe demende, wee þenken; and whan of vs is demed, wee hope þi merci. Wherfore and to þem, þat in þer lif vnwiſly and vnriȝtfulli lyueden, bi þo þingus, þat þei herieden, þou ȝeue gretteſt tormentis. Forſoþe in þe weie of errour lengere þei erreden, eymende goddis þo þingis þat in beſtes ben ouer veyne, liuende bi maner of vnwiſe ȝunge childer. For þat as to vnwiſe childer þou ȝeue dom, in to ſcorn; who forſoþe wiþ repreues and blamyngus ben not mendid, þe wrþi dom of God ben expert or feliden. In þeſe þingus forſoþe þat þei ſuffreden, heuyli þei beeren, in þe whiche ſuffring þei endeyneden; bi þo þingis þat þei wenden goddis, in hem whan þei weren diſtroȝid, ſeende hym, whom ſum tyme þei denyeden hem to han knowen, verre God þei knewen; for þe whiche and þe ende of þe condempnyng of hem ſhal come on hem.
Veyne forſoþe ben alle men, in whiche vnderliþ not þe kunnyng of God; and of þo þat ben ſeen goode þingus, þei myȝten not vndirſtonde hym, þat is, ne to þe werkis takende heed, knewen who was craftis man; but or fyr, or ſpirit, or ſwift eir, or cumpas of ſterres, or ful myche watir, or ſunne, or moone, þe gouernoures of þe roundneſſe of londis goddis wenden; in whos fairneſſe delitid, if þei wenden goddis, wite þey, hou myche þan þeſe þe lordſhipere of hem is þe fairere; þe getere forſoþe of fairneſſe alle þeſe þingus ordeynede. Or if þe vertue and werkis of þem þei wndreden, vnderſtonde þey of þo þingis, for he þat made þeſe þingis, is ſtrengere þan þo; forſoþe of þe mykilneſſe of fairneſſe, and of creature, knowendeli ſhal moun þe creatour of þeſe ben ſeen. But ner þe latere ȝit in þeſe laſſe pleynt is; and þeſe forſoþe parauenture erren, ſechende God, and willende to finden. And forſoþe in þe werkys of hym whan þei ben often turnende, and ſechen, and ful ſhewid han, for goode þingis ben, þat ben ſeen. Eft forſooþe ne to þeſe owiþ to be forȝouen. If forſoþe ſo myche þei myȝten kunne, þat þe world þei myȝten eymen, hou þe lord of þis liȝtliere þei founden not? Vnſeli forſoþe þei ben, and among þe deade þe hope of þem is, þat clepeden goddis þe werkis of þe hondis of men, gold, and ſiluer, þe finding of craft, and þe licneſſes of beſtes, or vnprofitable ſton, þe werc of þe olde hond. Or if any crafti man, forgere, hewe of þe wode an euene tree, and of þis taȝtli pare awei al þe rinde, and, vſid his craft diligentli, forge a veſſel vnprofitable in to conuerſacioun of lif; þe toþer forſoþe of his werk to þe making of mete vſe; and þe toþer of þeſe þingis, þat to noon vſe, a crokid tree, and ful of knarres, he makeþ, þat he graue diligentli bi his voideneſſe, and bi þe kunnyng of his craft figure it, and licne it to an ymage of man, or to ſum of beſtes it he compariſoune, þurȝ drawende wiþ a reuler, and make þe colour of it wiþ red, and broun, and eche ſpot, þat is in it, ful daubende wiþ erþe, and make it a wrþi dwelling, puttende it in a wal, and faſtnende wiþ iren, leſt parauenture it falle; beholdende to it, witende, for it mai not helpen þeſelf; forſoþe an ymage it is, and nede is to it helpe. And of his ſubſtaunce, and of his ſones, and of ſpoſailes, makende auow, enſercheþ; he ſhameþ not to ſpeke wiþ it, þat wiþoute ſoule is; and for helþe forſoþe þe feble he beſecheþ, and for lif he preȝeþ þe deade, and in to helpe he inwardli clepeþ þe vnprofitable. And for þe going aſkeþ of it, þat may not go; and of purchaſing, and of werching, and of þe chauns of alle þingus he aſkeþ of it, þat in alle þingys ys vnprofitable.
Eft an oþer þenkende to ſeilen, bi hidous flodis bigynnende to make weie, þe tree berende hym, inwardli clepeþ a more frele tree. Þat forſoþe coueitiſe of wynnyng þoȝte out; and a craftiſman forgede bi his wiſdam. Þou forſoþe, fader, gouerneſt bi prouydence, for þou haſt ȝoue in þe ſe weie, and among flodis moſt ſtedefaſt paþ; ſhewende, for þou art myȝti of alle þingus to helen, alſo if wiþoute ſhip a man go to þe ſe; but þat þe werkis of þi wiſdam weren not voide, for þat alſo men takende þer liues to a litil tree, and paſſende þe ſe, bi a ſhip ben deliuered. But fro þe bygynnyng, whan proude ieauntis perſheden, þe hope of þe roundneſſe of erþis to a ſhip fleende, ſente aȝeen to þe world ſed of birþe, þat bi þin hond was gouerned. Bliſſid forſoþe is þe tree, bi þe whiche is do riȝtwiſneſſe. Þe maumet forſoþe, þat is maad bi hondys, is curſid, and it, and he þat made it, for he forſoþe wroȝte vnleefulneſſe; þat forſoþe, whan it was britil, is nempned God. Lic maner forſoþe to hate ben to God þe vnpytouſe, and þe vnpitouſneſſe of hym. Forſoþe þat is mad, wiþ hym þat made, tormentus ſhal ſuffre. For þat and to þe maumetis of naciouns ſhal not ben reward; for þe creaturis of God in to hate ben mad, and tempting to þe ſoule of men, and in to a mouſcacche to þe feet of vnwiſe men. Þe bigynnyng forſoþe of fornycacioun is þe outſeching of maumetis, and þe finding of hem is corupcioun of lyf. Forſoþe þei weren not fro þe bigynnyng, ne ſhul ben in to wiþ oute ende. Þe oueruoideneſſe forſoþe of men þeſe þingis fond in to þe roundneſſe of erþis; and þerfore ſhort þe ende of hem is founden. Forſoþe wiþ bitter weiling þe fader ſorewende, ſoone of þe raueſhid ſone made an ymage; and hym, þat þanne as a man was dead, now as god he begynneþ to herien; and ordeynede among his ſeruauns templis and ſacrifiſes. Aftirward in þe mene comende time waxende ſhreude cuſtum, þis errour as lawe is kept, and bi maundemens of tirauntis falſe werkis ben heried. Þeſe whom in opene men myȝten not wrſhipen, for þat aferr þei weren, from aferr þe figure of þem is broȝt; þe euydent ymage of þe king, whom wrſhipen þei wolden, þei maden; þat hym þat was aferr, as preſent þei ſhulden herien wiþ þer biſyneſſe. Forſoþe þe grete diligence of þe craftis man droȝ to þe heriyng of hem and hem, þat vnknewen. He forſoþe wilnende more to pleſen to hym, þat hym toc, trauailede out bi his craft, þat þe licneſſe in to betere he ſhulde figuren. Forſoþe þe multitude of men, diſceyued bi þe fairneſſe of þe werk, hym þat bifor time as a man was wrſhipid, now god þei eymeden. And þis was diſceyuyng of mannys lif; for to afeccioun, or to kingus men deſeruyng, þe vncomunycable name to ſtones and trees þei putten. And it ſuffiſede not, þem to han erred aboute þe kunnyng of God; but and in gret bataile of vnkunnyng liuende, ſo fele and ſo grete eueles pes þei clepen. Or forſoþe þer ſones ſacrifiende, or derke ſacrifiſes makende, or hauende ful wacchis of wodneſſe, ne lif, ne clene ſpoſailis now þei kepen; but an oþer an oþer bi enuye ſleþ, or auoutrende ſorewiþ. And alle þingus ben mengd togidere, blod, manſlaȝter, þefte, and feynyng, corupcioun, vnfeiþfulneſſe, diſturbing, and forſwering, ſtrif, þe vnmynding of þe goodes of þe Lord, þe defouling of ſoules, þe miſchaunging of birþe, þe vnſtableneſſe of bridales, þe vnordeynyng of leccherie and of vnclenneſſe. Forſoþe þe heriyng of curſid maumetis is þe cauſe of alle euel, and bigynnyng, and ende. Or forſoþe, whil þei gladen, þei waxen wod; or certis þei profecien falſe þingus, or liuen vnriȝtwiſly, or forſwern ſoone. Whil forſoþe þei troſten in maumetus, þat ben wiþoute ſoule, euele ſwerende, þei hopen not þemſelf to ben noȝed. Eiþir þanne to þem comen wrþili; for euele þei feleden of God, takende heed to maumetis, and ſworen vnriȝtwiſly in þe maumet, diſpiſende riȝtwiſneſſe. Forſoþe of men ſwerende is not vertue, but þe peyne of ſynneres þurȝ goþ euermor, in to þe lawe breking of riȝtwis þingus.
Thou forſoþe, oure God, ſweete, and verre, and pacient, and in mercy diſpoſende alle þingis. Forſoþe if wee ſynnen, þine wee ben, witende þi mykilneſſe; and if wee ſynnen not, wee witen, for anent þee wee ben countid. Forſoþe to han knowen þee, is ful endid riȝtwiſneſſe; and to witen riȝtwiſneſſe and þi vertu, roote is of vndeadlyneſſe. Forſoþe not in to errour inladde vs þe oute þenking of þe euele craft of men, ne þe ſhadewe of peynting trauaile wiþoute frut, þe grauen licneſſe bi dyuers coloures; whos ſiȝte to þe vnwiſe ȝyueþ coueiting, and looueþ þe licneſſe of þe deade ymage wiþoute ſoule. Þe looueres of euelis ben wrþi deþ, þat hope han in ſuche þingus; and þat don hem, and þat loouen, and þat herien. But and þe crockere, þe neſſhe erþe þreſtende, trauailouſly makeþ to oure vſes eche veſſel; and of þe ſame clei he made þat ben clene veſſelis in to vſe, and alſo þat to þem ben contrarious; forſoþe of þeſe veſſelis what is þe vſe, domeſman is þe crockere. And wiþ veyn trauaile god he makeþ of þe ſame cley, he þat a litil biforn of erþe was mad; and aftir a litil he lediþ hymſelfe whennes he is taken, aȝeen aſkid þe dette of þe ſoule þat he hadde. But and þer is cure to hym, not for he is to trauailen, ne for his lif is ſhort, but þat me ſpute wiþ gold ſmyþis, and ſiluer ſmyþis; but and metal makeres he folewiþ, and glorie he berþ biforn; for þingus ouer voide he makeþ. Aſken forſoþe is þe herte of hym, and erþe ouer voide þe hope of hym, and foulere þan cley þe lif of hym. For he kneȝ not þat made hym, and þat enſpirede to hym a ſoule; and looueþ þat he wroȝte; and þat bleȝ in to hym a lifli ſpirit. But þei eymeden a pleiyng place to ben þe lif of hem, and þe conuerſacioun of lif mad to wynnyng, and to bihouen alſo on eche ſide, of euel to purchaſen. Þis forſoþe wot hymſelf ouer alle men to treſpaſſen, þat of þe mater of erþe britel veſſelis and grauen makeþ. Forſoþe alle þe vnwiſe men and vnſely ouer maner of þer ſoule ben proude, enemys of þi puple, and myſſeiende to it; for alle þe maumetis of naciouns godis þei eymeden, to þe whiche nouþer ſiȝte of eȝen is to ſeen, ne noſe þerlis to parceyue ſpirit, ne eres to heren, ne fingris of hondis to gropen, but and þe feet of hem ſlowe to gon. A man forſoþe made þem, and þat þe ſpirit borewide, he feynede þem; no man forſoþe mai maken a god lic to hym. Whan forſoþe he be deadli, þe deade he makiþ wiþ wicke hondis; betere forſoþe is he þan þeſe, þat he herieþ; for he forſoþe liuede, whan he was deadli, þei forſoþe neuere. But and þei moſt wrecchid herien beſtes; witles forſoþe, compariſouned to þeſe, ben wers þan þo. But neiþer wiþ ſiȝte any þing of þeſe beſtes mai beholden goode þyngis; forſoþe þey fledden þe preiſyng of God, and þe bleſſing of hym.
For þeſe, and lic þingus to þeſe, wrþily þei ſuffreden tormentis, and bi multitude of beſtes þei ben deſtroȝed. For whyche tormentis þou diſpoſidiſt wel þi puple, bi whiche þou ȝeue coueiting of þer delit a newe ſauour, greiþende curleeu mete to þem. Þat þei forſoþe coueitende mete, for þo þingus þat to þem ben ſhewid, and ſent, alſo fro nedeful coueiting þei ſhulden be turned awei; þeſe forſoþe nedi mad in ſhort, taſteden newe mete. Forſoþe it bihouede to þem, hauntende tiraundiſe, deþ to comen on wiþ oute excuſacioun; to þem forſoþe onli to ſhewen, hou þe enemys of þem weren deſtroȝid. Forſoþe whan to þem cam on þe cruel wraþe of beſtis, bi þe bityngis of ſhreude ſhadewe edderes þei weren diſtroȝid. But not in to euermor þi wraþe abod ſtille; but to þe correccioun in ſhort þei ben diſturbid, tocne hauende of helþe, to þe remembring of þe maundement of þi lawe. Who forſoþe is turned, not bi þat þat he ſaȝ, he was heled, but bi þee, ſaueour of alle. In þat forſoþe þou ſhewdiſt to oure enemys, for þou art, þat delyuereſt fro alle euel. Hem forſoþe þe bityngis of fleȝes and of locuſtis ſlowen, and þer is not founden helþe to þe ſoule of hem; for wrþi þei weren of ſuche þingus to ben deſtroȝed. Þi ſonus forſoþe, nouþer þe teþ of dragounes, ne of venymed þingus ouercamen; forſoþe þi mercy comende to, helede þem. In þe mynde forſoþe of þi wrdis þei weren diſtroȝid, and ſwiftli þei weren ſaued; leſt in to heeȝ forȝeting fallende, þei myȝten not vſe þin helpe. Forſoþe neiþer erbe, ne plaſtre helde þem; but þi wrd, Lord, þat heleþ alle þingus. Þou art, Lord, þat of lif and deþ haſt power; and bringeſt doun to þe ȝatis of deþ, and aȝeen bringeſt. A man forſoþe ſleþ bi malice forſoþe his ſoule; and whan þe ſpirit goþ out, he ſhal not turne aȝeen, ne þe ſoule, þat is reſceyued, ſhal aȝeen clepen; but þyn hond to fleen is vnpoſſible. Vnpitouſe men forſoþe, denyynge to han knowen þee, bi þe ſtrengþe of þin arm ben ſcourgid; wiþ newe watris, and hailis, and reynes, þey ſuffreden perſecucioun, and bi fijr ben waſtid. Þat forſoþe was merueylous, in water, þat alle þingis quencheþ, more þe fir myȝte; þe world forſoþe is veniere of riȝtwis men. Forſoþe ſum tyme þe fyr was tamed, þat þe beſtes, þat weren ſent to vnpitous men, weren not brent; but þat þei ſeende ſhulden witen, for bi þe dom of God þei ſuffren perſecucioun. And ſum tyme in water, aboue vertue, fyr brende out on eiþer ſide, þat þe wicke nacioun of þe lond it ſhulde deſtroȝen. For þe whiche wiþ þe mete of aungelis þou nurſhediſt þi puple, and þou ȝeue to þem bred mad redi fro heuene, wiþ oute trauaile; hauende alle deliting in itſelf, and ſwetneſſe of alle ſauour. Forſoþe þi ſubſtaunce, and þi ſwetneſſe, þat in to ſones þou haſt, þou ſhewediſt; and deſeruende to þe wil of echone, to what eche wolde, it was conuertid. Snoȝ forſoþe and ijs ſuffreden þe ſtrengþe of fyr, and floweden not; þat þei ſhulden witen, for brennende fyr, leiting in hail and reyn, deſtroȝede þe frutes of þe enemys. Þat forſoþe eft, þat þe riȝtwis man ſhulde ben nurſhid, þe fyr alſo forȝat his vertue. Forſoþe þe creature to þee makere deſeruende, brenneþ out in to torment aȝen vnriȝtwis men, and ſoftere is mad to weel don, for þem þat troſten in þee. For þat and þanne þi graces deſerueden in to alle þingus, transfigured to þe vertue of alle, at þe wil of þem, þat of þee ben deſired; þat þi ſones, whom þou loouedyſt, Lord, ſhulden wite, for not þe frut of birþe fedde men, but þi wrd kepte þem, þat in þee leeueden. Þat forſoþe þat of fijr myȝte not ben deſtroȝed, anoon of a litil bem of ſunne chaufid, flowede; þat it were knowen to alle, for it byhoueþ to comen beforn þe ſunne to þi bleſſing, and at þe ſpringing of liȝt to honoure þee. Forſoþe þe hope of þe vnkinde as cold ijs ſhal flowen, and diſperſhen as watir ouer voide.
Forſoþe grete ben þi domes, Lord, and vntellable þi wrdis; for þeſe þe vndiſciplyned ſoulis erreden. Whil forſoþe wicke men han ful preued, to moun lordſhipen to þe holy nacioun, in bondis of dercneſſes, and of long nyȝt gyued, encloſid vnder rooues, fugitif to perpetuel prouydence, pleſeden. And whil þei wenen þem to lurken in derk ſynnes, bi þe derc veil of forȝeting þei ben ſcatered, dredende grisfulli, and wiþ ful myche wndring diſturbid. Ne forſoþe þe den þat heeld hem, wiþ oute drede kepte; for deſcendende ſoun diſturbide þem, and dreri perſones aperende to þem, ȝeuen inward fere to þem. And no ſtrengþe forſoþe of þe fijr myȝte to þem ȝyuen liȝt, ne þe cleer flaumes of ſterres myȝten liȝten þat grisful nyȝt. Forſoþe þer aperede to þem ſodeyn fyr, ful of drede; and ſmyten wiþ þe drede of þat face, þat was not ſeen, þei eymeden werſe to ben, þat weren ſeen. And of deuyning craft þe ſcornes weren leid to, and þe glorie of wiſdam correccioun wiþ ſtrif. Þei forſoþe, þat bihiȝten dredes and perturbaciouns þem to putten out fro þe languyſſhende ſoule, þeſe wiþ ſcorn ful, of drede languyſſheden. For and if no þing hem of þe wndris diſturbide, bi paſſing of beſtis, and hiſſing of edderes ſtirid, ferful þei perſheden; and þe eir, þat bi no reſoun a man myȝte flee, denyende þemſelf ſeeȝen; ofte forſoþe þey beforn ocupien werſt þingis, þe concience vndernemende. Whan forſoþe þer is ferful ſhreudeneſſe, it is ȝouen in to þe condepnacioun of alle þingus; euermor preſumeþ cruel þingis a conſcience diſturbid. No þing forſoþe is drede, but helpe of preſumpcioun, betraȝyng of þe helpis of þoȝt. And whil fro wiþinne laſſe is þe abiding, þe more it weneþ þe power of his cauſe, of þe whiche torment it ȝyueþ. Þei forſoþe, þat verreli þe vnmyȝti nyȝt, and ſlepende þe ſame ſlep, ouercomende from þe loweſt, and fro þe heȝeſt, oþerwhile þei weren ſtirid hider and þider, bi þe drede of þe wndris, oþerwhile þe lyues faileden bi ouerleding; forſoþe to þem ſodeyn and vnhopid drede ouercam. Þeraftir if any of hem hadde falle doun, he was kept in priſoun, wiþ oute iren, recloſid; if forſoþe a cherl who were, or a ſhepperde, or a werchere of feeldis, were beforn ocupied, vnſcapable, or þat myȝt not be fled, nede he ſuffrede. Wiþ oon forſoþe cheyne of dercneſſes alle þei weren bounde togidere; or puffende wind, or ſweet ſoun of briddes among þicke braunchis of tres, or ſtrengþe of ful myche rennende doun water, or ſtrong ſoun of ſtones fallid doun, or þe vnſeen cours of pleiende beſtes, or þe ſtronge vois of loowende beſtes, or þe aȝeen ſounende rebounding of ſoun fro þe heȝeſt hillis, maden þem failende for drede. Forſoþe al þe roundneſſe of erþis was liȝtid wiþ cler liȝt, and contened in werkis not lettid. Forſoþe only to þem was ouerſet a greuous nyȝt, ymage of dercneſſes, þat was to come on to þem; þanne þei to þemſelf weren mor greuous þan þe dercneſſis.
To þi ſeyntes forſoþe was moſt liȝt, and þe vois forſoþe of þeſe þe enemys herden, but þe figure þei ſeȝen not; and for not and þei bi þe ſame þingus hadden ſuffrid, þei magnefieden þee. And for biforn hurt þei weren, for þei weren not hurt, graces þei diden to þee; and þat þer were difference, þee, God, þei aſkeden. For þe whiche þei hadden to þe vnknowe lif ledere, a brennende piler of fyr; and þou ȝeue þe ſunne, wiþoute hurting of good herberewe. Wrþi forſoþe þei to lacken liȝt, and to ſuffrin priſoun of dercneſſes, þat encloſid kepten þin holi ſones; bi whom þe vncorupt liȝt of lawe bigan to ben ȝouen to þe world. Whan þei þoȝten to ſlen þe fauntis of riȝtwis men; and oon ſone leid out, and deliuered, and in to þe ouerleding of þem, þou tooke awei þe multitude of ſones, and togidere þem þou ſpildiſt in ſtrong water. Þat forſoþe nyȝt is knowen biforn of oure fadris, þat verreli witende bi what oþis þei leeueden, þei ſhulden ben mor ſtedefaſt. Forſoþe þer is taken of þi puple helþe, forſoþe of riȝtwis men; of vnriȝtwis men forſoþe deſtroȝing. Forſoþe as þou hurtedeſt oure aduerſaries, ſo and vs ſterende, þou magnefiediſt. Hidendely forſoþe þe riȝtwis childer of goode men ſacrifieden, and þe lawe of ryȝtwiſneſſe þei diſpoſeden to acord; lic maner riȝtwis men goodes and eueles to reſceyuen, noble preiſingus to þe fader of alle ſingende. Forſoþe þe vncouenable vois of enemyes ſounede, and wepful weiling of bewepte ȝunge childer was herd. Lic peyne forſoþe þe ſeruaunt wiþ þe lord is tormentid; and a man of þe puple to þe king lic þyngis ſuffrede. Þanne lic maner alle wiþ o name of deþ hadden vnnoumbrable deade men, ne þe quyke forſoþe ſuffiſeden to birien; for o moment þe nacioun of hem, þat was mor cler, is diſtroȝed. Of alle forſoþe þey not leeuende for þe benefetes, þanne whan firſt was þe deþ of þe firſt goten, þei bihiȝten hemſelf þe puple of God to ben. Whan forſoþe quyete ſilence contenede alle þingus, and þe nyȝt in his cours hadde þe mene weie, þin almyȝti wrd, Lord, goende out fro heuene, fro þe kingus ſetes cam; an hard ouercomere it is, in to þe myddel lond of deþ; leep forþ a ſharp ſwerd berende in to þi licned empire; and ſtondende fulfilde alle þingus wiþ deþ, and vnto heuene ateynede, ſtondende in þe erþe. Þanne anoon þe ſiȝte of euele ſweuenes diſturbide þem, and dredes oncamen vnhopid. And an oþer elleſwher caſt forþ half on lyue, for what cauſe of deþ he diede, he ſhewede. Forſoþe þe viſeouns þat diſturbeden hem, þeſe þingus biforn warneden, þat þei ſhulden not perſhen vnkunnynge, whi þei ſuffreden eueles. Þanne forſoþe touchede and riȝtwiſmen þe temptacioun of deþ, and þer is mad of þe multitude a ſtiring in wilderneſſe; but not longe abod ſtille þi wraþe. A man forſoþe goende wiþoute blame to preȝen for puples, bringende forþ of hys ſeruyſe þe ſheeld an oriſoun, and bi encens preȝing aleggyng, wiþſtod to þe wraþe, and ende putte to þe nede, ſhewende for þi ſeruaunt he is. Forſoþe he ouercam cumpanys, not in vertue of body, ne in armure of power; but in wrd hym þat ouertrauailede hym, he vndircaſte, remembrende þe oþis of fadris, and teſtament. Whan forſoþe now hipyllmelum þei hadden fallen dead, eiþer vp on oþer, he ſtod betwen, and kutte awei þe bure, and deuydede þat weie, þat to þe men on lyue ladde. Forſoþe in þe cloþing of þe preeſt coepe, þat he hadde, was al þe roundneſſe of erþis; and þe grete þingus of fadris weren grauen in foure ordres of ſtones; and þi grete doyng in þe dyademe of hys hed was writen. To þeſe forſoþe he ȝaf ſtede, þat diſtroȝede, and þeſe þingus he ful out dredde; forſoþe þer was alone ſuffycyent temptyng of wraþe.
To þe vnpitouſe forſoþe and to þe laſte wiþoute mercy wraþe cam vpon; forſoþe he knew biforn and þe þingis to comen of hem. For whan þei weren turned, and hadden ſuffrid, þat þei ſhulden lede þem, and wiþ gret biſyneſſe þei hadden ſent þem beforn, þer folewede forſoþe þem þe deede of penaunce. Ȝit forſoþe among þe hondys hauende weiling, and weping at þe monumentes of þe deade, an oþer þynking of vnkunnyng þei token to þem; and whom preȝende þei hadden þrowen awei, þem as fugitifes þei purſueden. Forſoþe þer ladde þem to þat ende wrþi neceſſite, and of þeſe þingis þat hadden fallen, þe mynde þei loſten, þat þat lackeden of tormentis, punſhyng ſhulde fulfillen, and þi puple forſoþe merueylouſly ſhulde paſſe; þei forſoþe newe deþ ſhulden fynde. Eche creature forſoþe to his kinde fro þe bigynnyng was aȝeen figured, deſeruend to þin heſtes, þat þi childer ſhulden be kept vnhurt. For a cloude ſhadewede þe tentes of hem, and in þe water þat was biforn, þe erþe aperede drie; and in þe rede ſe weie wiþ oute lettyng, and a buriounende feeld of ful gret depþe; bi þe whiche alle nacioun paſſede, þat was couered wiþ þin hond; ſeende forſoþe þi merueiles and wndris. As hors forſoþe þei gnowen mete, and as lombis þei ful out ioȝeden, magnefiende þee, Lord, for þou delyueredeſt hem. Forſoþe myndeful þey weren ȝit of þo þingus, þat were don in þe comeling wonyng of hem; as for þe nacioun of beſtes, þe erþe broȝte out fleeȝes, and for þe fiſſhes, þe flod bolkede out multitude of frogges. At þe laſte forſoþe þey ſeȝen a newe creature of briddes, whan, lad bi luſt, þei aſkeden metes of delicious eting. In þe ſpeche forſoþe of þe deſir, ſteȝede vp to þem fro þe ſe a curlu; and trauailes to ſynneres camen vp on, not wiþoute þo euydences, þat weren mad bi þe fors of flodis. Riȝtwiſly forſoþe þei ſuffreden, aftir þeir ſhreudeneſſes; forſoþe in to abhominable hoſpitalite þei ſtoden in. Oþere forſoþe vnknowen comelingus reſceyueden not; oþere forſoþe goode geſtes in to ſeruage token. And not onli þeſe þingus, but an oþer forſoþe reſpit of hem was, for maugre þeires þei reſceyueden ſtraungeres. Who forſoþe wiþ gladneſſe reſceyueden þem, þat hadden vſid þe ſame enformyngus, wiþ moſt cruel ſorewes þei tormenteden. Smyte forſoþe þei ben wiþ blindneſſe, as þei in þe ȝates of þe riȝtwiſe, wiþ ſodeyn dercneſſes, whan þei ben couered; eche oon ſoȝte þe paſſing out of his dore. In to þem ſelf forſoþe whil þe elemens ben turned, as in an orgne of qualite þe ſoun is chaungid, and alle kepen þer ſoun; wherfore of þat ſerteyn ſiȝte it may be eymed. Feeldi wilde þingus in to watri ben turned; whateuere weren ſwymmende, in þe erþe paſſeden. Fyr in þe watir hadde ſtrengþe ouer his vertue; and water forȝat his quenchende kinde. Flaumes aȝeenward trauaileden not þe fleſh of þe coruptible beſtes goende togidere; ne diſſoluede it, þat liȝtli was diſſolued as ijs, good mete. In alle þingus forſoþe þou magnefiediſt þi puple, Lord, and wrſhepediſt; and diſpiſediſt not, in alle tyme and in alle place ſtondende nyȝ to þem.
Here endiþ þe look of Sapiens, and now bigynneþ þe prolog of Eccleſiaſticus.